Due to being an unconventional couple, everything from our wedding was promptly placed in plastic tubs and stored away in my mom’s attic for five years until my husband and I stopped wanderlusting about and bought a sensible house in the Midwest. When our tubs arrived in our new living room to be unpacked, I was delighted. Finally! I thought. I can open my wedding gifts! Now Adam and I were young and progressive, so we wrote some nonsense into our invitations like, “Your presence is the only present we need. No gifts, please!” Just who did we think we were? We were mid-20s, fresh out of grad school with chipped dishes, crappy $5 pillows for guests, and posters without frames on our walls. Which explains why most of our guests got us presents anyway. (This has been a theme in my life. Like, no really, please accept and use this thing you really, really need. PLEASE!)
And while all of the gifts we received were heartfelt, and many were excitedly integrated into our lives, plenty aren’t items that we will use regularly and don’t align with our current taste. So back in the bins they go to be fondly stored in the basement for the next five years, because they are from our beloved friends and family, and they are from our wedding, after all! So while I am grateful for the creative gifting (and I am now aware just how much my friends think I appreciate quirky local artists), I know there are many guests who would have appreciated a little guidance.
However, I also know that once handed a registry gun, a strong case of identity amnesia sets in, and suddenly you’re planning the dinner parties of your alter ego, Matilde the Manhattan socialite, as you cheerfully scan the inventory of Crate and Barrel. And later, you’re like, wait, I’m Sharon from Kansas City, and I treat myself at Target. So I asked my friends who did register what their biggest registry regrets were after coming down from that wedding high.
Amber from New York says, “We accidentally registered for 48 cereal bowls!” Luckily they caught the error and amended it to eight place settings, to which present day Amber says to former wedding Amber, “FOR WHAT APARTMENT? Definitely not mine. It’s so crowded during parties you have to step outside to change your mind.” And so where are those dishes? Storage, baby. However, Amber is grateful for the light that turns on and off via clapping so she doesn’t have to clamor over her furniture to flick the switch, and she is able to live out her “80s commercial dreams.” We all have 80s commercial dreams, right?
Lucy of Pennsylvania’s number one regret is that she got married before Amazon Prime existed, and her second is that she registered for a papasan chair from Pier One: “I loved it for about a year, but those things just don’t hold up like real furniture!” In no time, the wood frayed, and it fell completely apart. To which I responded: “Does Pier One still exist?”
Natalie of Florida says, “We registered for king size bed sheets (that are still in the package) in the giddy anticipation that we would upgrade to a roomy king bed ASAP.” Five years later, and you know they are still cuddling in that queen. But Natalie lets me in on the latest rumor: “There’s now been talk that we’re going to treat ourselves to one for Christmas this year.” But she doesn’t get her hopes up, skeptically finishing her statement with “We’ll see.”
April of California “felt pressure to register for ‘fine china’ for our wedding.” While they were never really into it, they “spent way too much time picking out our ‘favorite’ patterns.” When they opened their gifts, they had only received a couple sets, and they realized they didn’t want to spend the money to buy more. “So we returned what we had and bought more useful kitchen items, like tupperware and serving dishes. Three years into our marriage and it’s working out for the best. We break enough of our basic dishes, so I’m glad we don’t have more expensive ones to waste.”
“I definitely went a little crazy with our registry,” Jen of Virginia admits. “I love gifts and was super excited to pick things out for our home.” To be fair, I have honestly never seen more cute stuff in one place than in Jen’s house. She says that for the most part, they integrated all of their gifts into the household. When I ask her if there is anything she looks at and wonders, why?, she says, “Well there is that Aeropress that has only ever been used by you.” She laughs, “I want to be fancy with my coffee, but my Keurig habit is hard to kill.” Oh Keurig, you monster of instant gratification. Why do you insist on filling our oceans with plastic and our mugs with stale coffee?
Other items you might regret? Anything intended for the kitchen that ends in “machine, maker, or press.” Anything heavy, or that takes up cubic feet of space. Anything that seems cool but that you have never actually used before. Anything to be used on “special occasions” only. Anything that you think might trick friends into thinking you are the next Martha Stewart. Anything that is reflective of who you want to be but has nothing to do with who you are.
So register in good health friends, but heed these tales of caution. Godspeed.